Someone’s listening

In an earlier post, I listed some apps I’d like to see. At least one now exists.

An essay called “Hacking the social life of Big Data” by Mark Cote, Jennifer Pybus and Tobias Blanke, describes an experiment conducted with young people around issues of mobile phone data privacy. (I can’t find a public link – I got it through This refers to Disconnect, an app which (in the free version) “provides the user with a visualized record of tracking performed by websites and mobile applications, showing what tracking cookies are used and whose cookies they are. It also shows any unsecured connections within sites using otherwise secure HTTPS connections.”

It’s not very clear: but it does show, for example, that the Kings College London site is using Google Analytics to track my visit on my mobile. Disconnect must be good, because Google refuse to allow it on their Play Store!

I’ve tried a couple of other things on my browser: Adblock shows me that the KCL site has five ads (but doesn’t say what they are). Scriptsafe claims to render scripts harmless, but again doesn’t tell me what it is blocking. (And tries to stop me adding images to blog posts like this one!)

What I’d still like is something to tell me what is actually ‘on’ the page, and where it is sending my data.

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